Does dementia mean you are no longer in control of your finances?
Finances are a part of our everyday tasks to manage. This could be simply to pay for groceries and bills or to buy gifts, go on holiday or simply save in your bank account.As dementia progresses, it will become more and more difficult to manage your financial affairs. This can lead to problems arising in the family, if you become forgetful. It may be that you spend your money on things and then forget that you have spend it, or simply misplace your money. Arguments can arise if this becomes a problem of trust and accusations of stealing money from you.
Financial decision making
There are also long term decisions to be made about finances. When you are no longer able to manage your money, how will you access your bank account? How will you decide on what to buy? How will you decide on who you might want to leave what in your will? However a very important aspect of managing your affairs – especially financial ones – is who will decide for you when you no longer have capacity. This may include what care is bought for you or which residential or nursing home you go to and how much of your money is used for your care.
Power of Attorney
Families can sometimes not realise that they may have good intentions but start to use your money for their own expenses including paying for bills at home where you are living. To protect everyone, there is something called the ‘Lasting Power of Attorney’. This can be decided upon whilst you have capacity so that you can authorise someone that you trust to keep your best interests at heart when you are no longer able to make financial decisions – including who can access your money care.
How can you help yourself?
Get some advice on how to manage your finances as your dementia progresses and it becomes increasingly difficult to manage them. You can speak to your bank for alternatives to using a pin number as well as having a named person able to help you access your money. Also look into getting a ‘Lasting Power of Attorney’ application completed whilst you have capacity, for when it becomes difficult to make financial decisions in later life.
Delegating Financial Responsibility
Money belonging to you is your money. You may wish to delegate financial responsibility to a carer or family member or set up a lasting power-of-attorney. It would be best to do this as deciding on how to spend your money without your consent can leave them open to accusations of financial abuse. The will help in the long term for a carer to make financial decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able to.
Whilst many people in BAME families take it for granted that one can access and spend ‘family money’ on family matters, it is important to note that the law sees this very differently. This is especially true if you do not have capacity to make financial or life decisions. Cultural practices cannot overrule legal aspects of managing other people’s finances.
Remain in control
Dementia affects everyone a little differently. It depends on the type of dementia as to the day to day things that might become difficult. One of the more important aspects is the ability to manage your finances. This can not only allow you to remain in control whiles you can make financial decisions, but it saves your from financial abuse if you out into place a ‘Lasting Power of Attorney’.
Being able to appoint who you want to make decisions for you will let you decide who can access your money for you as well as how it will be spent. You need to appoint an Attorney whilst you still have capacity to make decisions.